Theresa Van Hyning: Small town girl, big world sound
Sarah Manriquez / Sun Star
Audience members gathered in the great hall after Theresa Van Hynings Junior Horn Recital on Oct. 10 and awaited the horn player’s appearance during her reception. Hyning entered the room in a deep purple floor length gown with a black feather top and jeweled belt. The room was filled with laughter, food and talk of Hyning’s performance.
“It was in true Theresa fashion,” Karen Gustafson, UAF assistant professor of music, said. “It was flamboyant, note-y and fabulous… right down to the dress!”
Hyning payed close attention the presentation of her recital, planning out every detail from custom-made programs to the costuming, which involved white, curled colonial-style wigs. It
was important to her that this wasn’t just another event. Hyning wanted this to be an experience.
“I loved the overall presentation of the recital. Bryan Hall, UAF violin and viola professor and pedagogy coordinator, said. “The quality of her tone was superb,”
Hyning has played with almost every musical group at UAF, including the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the UAF Brass Quintet, the wind symphony and the jazz band just to name a few. However, her accomplishments go much farther than the UAF campus boundaries. Hyning has auditioned and played with several prestigious honor bands, such as the College Band Director’s Honor Band of the North West held in Reno, NV in spring 2014 and the World Association of Symphonic Band Ensembles held in San Jose, CA.
Hyning said she is most proud of her time in the National Intercollegiate Band (NIB) held in Lexington, KY in summer 2015. Hyning is the first Alaskan to make it through the audition process and be selected to play with NIB.
While in Lexington, Kentucky performing for NIB, Hyning was designated the principal low horn player and had the opportunity to play the premiere of piece commissioned by composer, Julie Ann Giroux; who is known for composing the “Meow Mix” song.
Hyning specifically recalls her 5th grade music teacher, Ms. Jennifer Dalby, at Pioneer Peak Elementary School in Wasilla, AK. Hyning wanted to participate in the elementary school band. Her mother had one condition: she had to choose and use an instrument that the school already had. They had French horns. With a little extra help from Ms. Dalby in convincing her mother that French horn was a good choice, Hyning began her musical journey.
Hyning is not the type of personality to blend into the background; toting around her rubber chicken purse named Wanda, singing ’80s pop, “bubble gum,” fun music with her signature, cheetah print covered binder—the word FIERCE in bold on the cover—in hand. She is well-known and well-loved in the music department.
“Everyone knows who Theresa is,” Charles Woodward, a close friend of Hyning’s, said.
Hyning hopes to get a performance degree at Texas Lutheran University, which has a band program she admires. Although she is pursuing a Bachelor of Music Education, Hyning has always dreamed of professionally performing.
“Gosh, I think everyone has that dream where they want to perform but then you also have to have the safety net of having a teaching certificate,” Hyning said. “I love teaching, I love kids, I love education and, if I could spend the rest of myself in a school I know I would be perfectly happy but everyone has that dream that they want to perform and that dream is still very, very, alive for me.”
Aspnes, believes that this dream could very much be a reality for Hyning.
“She’s not shy,” Aspnes describes thoughtfully. “She is not intimidated by challenges and she is willing to give things a try.”
Aspnes has played a huge role in Hyning’s musical journey.
“She has always been so great; inspiring me to be the best musician I could be,” Hyning said. “You need that – someone to be your number one advocate and supporter and Jane always gave me that and she gave me the motivation I needed to succeed,”
“She has been blossoming,” Aspnes said. “She has far exceeded my wildest dreams….I believe if she wanted to, she could play at the professional level.”
Hyning’s work will be featured this Friday at 2 p.m. on KUAC.